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Fisherman's tale at heart of battle over wildlife-trafficking law

Two very different portraits of Abner Schoenwetter have emerged in recent congressional debates over wildlife-trafficking laws. In one, Schoenwetter is a hard-working fisherman who -- along with three co-defendants -- was the unwitting victim of an overly broad federal law and zealous government agents. In another, he's a calculating seafood importer who made shady deals and dodged law enforcement for years before getting the punishment he deserved. What's undisputed is that Schoenwetter is a convicted felon, who spent six-and-a-half years in prison after a jury found him guilty of numerous violations of the Lacey Act of 1900, which prohibits trade in illegally harvested wildlife and plants.

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